Biofarma has a lofty set of benchmarks for the future: 15 product launches per year; 13 new export countries by the end of
2009; and a top-10 revenue ranking in Turkey by 2013. Within five years, it hopes to sell 100 million boxes of its products
per year and earn $50 million in exports by establishing partnerships in North Africa, the Middle East, and the CIS countries.
The company plans to introduce new products in niche sectors such as antidepressants and hormones and in 2009, will begin
construction on a new production site for oncologicals.
"What we are trying to do is maintain a high-value product in the niche market," says Umur Südekan, Biofarma's general manager.
"Because there is less competition, it is easier to become the number one or two player."
The Post-Generics Pioneer
Pharma executives in Turkey reacted with industry-wide shock when, in July 2007, Eczacibasi sold 75% of its generics division
to Czech pharma giant Zentiva (Prague). The deal was seen as a pharmaceutical pioneer abandoning a prospering industry it
had helped establish. But the move was meant to help the 66-year-old manufacturing company shift its emphasis to distributing
imported finished products through licensing agreements with multinationals such as Amgen (Thousand Oaks, CA) and to continue
investing in healthcare advances for the Turkish market.
Elif Çelik, (All photos are courtesy of EC Reviews.)
With the sale, Zentiva gained access to a vast portfolio of products in cardiovascular, central nervous system, and anti-infective
areas and to the massive Lüleburgaz production site, a facility with an annual capacity of 380 million packs that received
FDA approval in 2007. Eczacibasi-Zentiva has "shifted our whole portfolio strategy toward chronic treatments" and this year
has "created a significant franchise in diabetes," says Elif çelik, general manager of Eczacibasi-Zentiva.
In July, Eczacibasi Holding, a prominent industrial group of 42 companies with $3.2 billion revenue in 2007, reaffirmed its
commitment to pharmaceuticals with a 50% acquisition of the Turkish radiopharmaceuticals maker, Monrol. Eczacibasi Holding
continues to invest in its hospital-supplies joint venture, Eczacibasi-Baxter, and in Eczacibasi-Corridor, Turkey's first
home healthcare services company. Yet, the group expects its biggest growth from Eczacibasi Pharmaceuticals Marketing, a division
concentrating on niche therapeutics, including biotech products for oncology. Sales from this company could reach $135 million
this year, up 35% from 2007, according to company forecasts.
"Importing and distributing gives us the opportunity to expand as much as we want into different areas," says Sedat Birol,
executive vice-president of Eczacibasi Pharmaceuticals Division. "We have great expectations from this company."
The "Kitchen" of Big Pharma
Profile: Embil Pharmaceuticals
Spread across the back wall of a boardroom in Embil Pharmaceuticals' Istanbul headquarters are dozens of product registration
approvals from regulatory authorities around the world. The wall represents the pride and promise of the 63-year-old company,
which exports to more than 30 countries and has out-licensing agreements with multinational firms such as Bayer Schering Pharma
Koral Embil, (All photos are courtesy of EC Reviews.)
"We consider ourselves the kitchen of large pharmaceutical companies," says Koral Embil, vice-president of scientific affairs
and business development. "We believe that if the product is innovative enough and if it can fill a need in the marketplace,
the marketing partner will approach us and they will be committed to us."